Wide Disclosure Of Gaming Revenue Sought
Leaders of two Arizona Indian tribes plus two tribes from other states were relentlessly questioned this week by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) whether the 17-year old federal regulations governing tribal gaming should be updated but none of their answers seemed to satisfy Coburn, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
Vivian Juan-Saunders chairwoman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Dallas Massey Sr., chairman of White Mountain Apache Tribe, Joseph Pakootas, chairman of the Colville Confederacy Tribe in north central Washington State and Deron Marquez, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of California responded to the Committee.
Juan-Saunders testified that Arizona’s regulation of reservation gambling could serve as a model for the nation.
Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain ((R-AZ) said one of the reasons for a current series of hearings on Indian gaming is to ensure that patrons of the casinos, nearly all non-Indians, are protected by ”honest, straightforward an transparent” operations.
The hearing come as tribes, especially those on reservations far from urban centers, increasingly seek to open casinos on trust land or properties they buy close to cities.
Also, tribes with lucrative gambling interests have become prey to what McCain describes as unscrupulous consultants and lobbyists. A reference to his senate hearings on the Abramoff/Scanlon multi-million dollar lobbying scandal.
During the casino income hearing, Coburn asked at least eight times for an explanation of tribe non–disclosure policies. He said all U.S. businesses and governmental entities are required to report at least privately to the Internal revenue Service and tries would not jeopardize their sovereignty if they voluntarily opened their books.
Pakootas said, “We’re not public companies, we’re actually like different countries.”
Massey noted that in Arizona, a single figure representing all tribes gambling revenue is reported to the state. But Coburn responded, “I want it on record” why tribes don’t report individually.
Coburn took issue with a response from Marquez, whose tribe has a casino some 30 miles east of Los Angeles.
“The main reason for (non-disclosure) is trust,” Marquez said. “Every time we have shared information with the ‘outside world’... it’s always something that has come back to hurt us.”
Coburn retorted that tribes are not harmed by accounting for their number of Indian Health Service patients and the figures allow Congress to attend tribal health care needs. He added that “revealing gambling revenues “in the long run would build support for Native Americans.”
I would like to comment on Senator Coburn’s final remarks – “Sir, in light of the seriousness of the situation, comparing Indian Health Service patients to tribal gambling revenues is very much like comparing apples to oranges.”
This column has been edited for content and length from an article in The Arizona Republic bylined Jon Kamman.
PROTECTING GRAY WOLVES
Submitted by Melody “Little Wolf” Sheline
I just sent a petition to Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, about the
new Federal rule weakening federal protections for gray wolves.
The new rule classifies wolves in most of the Lower 48 states as merely
threatened rather than endangered.
This would make it easier to kill
wolves throughout most of their historic range in the Lower 48 states.
Once all but wiped out by extermination campaigns, wolves are just now
struggling for survival again in the wild.
Please help keep the wolves safe and free! Go to http://www.savewolves.org ,
send your petition, and pass it on!!!
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